Exploring XML Conform Options in DaVinci Resolve

Exploring XML Conform Options in DaVinci Resolve

December 7, 2016

Importing XMLs into DaVinci Resolve can be frustrating. Sometimes, a change in Resolve's 'Conform Options' settings can save the day (or not).


Conforming Giants Part 4

Trying Alternative XML Import Workflows

All full-featured color grading apps have one thing in common: They give you many different ways to accomplish the same goal. The path you choose is based on what you’re most comfortable with. But sometimes, one path is obviously more superior than another. But to find the superior path you must walk down each path, separately. Then you stand back, evaluate the results and proceed forward. Importing an XML into DaVinci Resolve is frequently one of those ‘walk-down-each-path-before-deciding-which-path-is-best’ routines. As we conform In The Shadow of Giants, we explore several Conform Options in Project Settings that have a big impact on the XML we’re importing.

Importing XMLs is more an art than a science

Do you think there is a precision in this? Think again. In an age of digital files, there isn’t enough metadata embedded in our digital files for an app like Resolve to sort out one clip from another. Often, Resolve is making an educated guess about which clip goes where. And if Resolve starts guessing, things get wonky.

The XML import of In The Shadow of Giants is wonky.

In this Insight, upon initial import, we’re noticing all sorts of problems with wrong clips, frame resizing, etc. When I see this type of thing happen, what’s the first thing I do? I try again, but with different Conform Options in DaVinci Resolve’s Project Settings. We tell Resolve to infer additional information about the timeline being imported and how to match the timeline up with the clips in the Media Pool. And when I say ‘infer’ – really, we are telling Resolve to make intelligent guesses. We’re having Resolve either create new metadata or look for alternate metadata to help the import process.

By changing the Conform Options, we’re changing the rules for matching clips to the incoming timeline.

Sometimes, a simple change to the Conform Options fixes all our problems – instantly! Other times, it creates whole new sets of problems. At those times our decision becomes… which set of problems do we want to solve? We get to choose between two problem imports.

If changing Conform Options doesn’t work—then change how you populate the Media Pool

It’s strange – but over the years I’ve found some versions of DaVinci Resolve work best when you add all the footage into the Media Pool before the XML import. Other versions of DaVinci Resolve hate a pre-populated Media Pool and prefers to populate the Media Pool via the XML Import dialog box. More recently, Resolve is agnostic—either way works as frequently as it fails.

But as you’ll see in this Insight, with a problem import I still take a few moments and let the XML Import dialog box populate the Media Pool. It’s an easy troubleshooting step that mysteriously solves many problems.

As you watch this Insight, keep in mind this Insight is longer than it actually takes to execute

Conforming is a pain. And sometimes it can take all day. But the step of the process you see here usually doesn’t take more than 5 – 10 minutes. I’m just taking time to talk you through it and help you understand my reasoning. This way, when you run into a troublesome conform, you’ll have a series of A-B-C steps you can follow, too.



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Homepage Forums Exploring XML Conform Options in DaVinci Resolve

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  • Patrick – Sure I get your point about about all that and Its cool to see how you can get around issues in Resolve, when needs must. Yes the frame size thing can be annoying, I think in the scale to frame size option, there are some hidden values going on and so when you make the xml it doesn’t carry across and causes issues. I did some tests on Jpegs in Prem where there was a move/ creep on them. If set to frame size is used that move should carry across in the xml. When in resolve you might find that the jpeg (with move) is not filling the frame, but if you go to the inspector in resolve and choose crop in the in the retime and scaling tab it seems to fix the intended scaling that was done in the offline.

  • Hi Patrick,
    Thanks very much for this conforming series; it’s very helpful!

    If I have FCP7 installed on my machine (and someday the Mac OS du jour doesn’t end up breaking it, which someday it will), can a Premiere XML be washed through FCP7 in order to make a difference in the XML language coming into Resolve? Or is it a case of garbage in/garbage out?

  • Patrick Inhofer

    David – Sorry I missed this question of yours… FCP 7 generally doesn’t improve the translation into Resolve, not anymore. There was time, a few years ago when I would have answered differently. But today, Resolve is as good as parsing the FCP XML language as FCP itself. In fact better, since Resolve can translate to and from the FCP and FCPX XML languages… something neither of those apps can do.

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